Dark Star: Espresso Stout (England: Stout: 4.2% ABV)

Visual:  Black with a thin mocha bubbled head. The head leaves bubbled trails around the glass of firm consistency.

Nose: Bitter. Ground dark coffee. Dusty and coffee granules. Light milk. Charred wood and mocha.

Body: Big bitter and coffee. Chalky texture. Slight treacle back, Roasted nuts. Mocha.  Too thin at the front.

Finish: Charring. Big amounts of nuts and some chalk.  Touch of treacle. Very dry feel. Slight black cherry and bitter chocolate, but more hinted at than completed flavours.

Conclusion: This needs a thicker body, and then some. Pretty much my first thought on sipping, and nothing since has done much to put me off that conclusion.  The nose is full of coffee power, and the finish is charred and bitter, but the body comes in just a bit too light.  On big mouthfuls you get more, as you would expect. Never that solid though.

Still the flavours are pretty much in place, even if they lack some umph to get them going. Nowt special I must say. Does improve slightly as you progress, but never a showstopper stout. Not bad, not great.

Background: Dark Star has always had a great rep, which I’ve never seemed to gel with.  So far, I’ve found the beers good, but never quite as worth raving about as others have seen them.  Possibly I’ve just not tried the right beers.  This one I’ve tried before in bottle, but this is the first time I’ve tried the more highly regarded cask version.